After 15 years in London, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards debuted at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on Monday, representing a shift away from the Eurocentric rankings of years past. Well, not exactly.
Though the 50 Best ranks restaurants from across the globe— polling 1,000 food writers, chefs, and “well-traveled gourmets”—the chefs that make the list are often overwhelmingly male and white, and 2016 seems to be no exception. The elite rankings shift little from year to year, with top restaurants like Copenhagen’s Noma (you might have seen the “gastronomic mecca” featured on PBS’ Mind of a Chef), New York’s Eleven Madison Park, and Chicago’s Alinea topping the list. This year, Modena, Italy’s Osteria Francescana, led by chef Massimo Bottura, swapped its second place spot with last year’s top restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain.
But beyond the lack of racial and geographical diversity on the list, the 50 Best also displayed a stunning lack of gender diversity, a failing the organization has long been criticized for. This year, female chefs were again few and far between. Elena Arzak Espina—who works alongside her father, Juan Mari Arzak, at San Sebastian’s Arzak—made the cut. And number four on the list, Central in Lima, Peru, is run by Virgilio Martinez and his wife, Pia Leon.
“As if to make up for [its geographical bias], the World's 50 Best also runs two regional lists: Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants and Asia's 50 Best Restaurants,” GQ’s Brett Martin wrote in April. “Likewise, the award for Best Female Chef tacitly, if condescendingly, acknowledges the List's overwhelmingly testosteronic bent.”
The title of Best Female Chef, which was first instituted in 2013, was awarded to chef Dominique Crenn this year. But even so, the chef’s restaurants, Atelier Crenn and Petit Crenn in San Francisco, were not included on the 2016 50 Best list.
"Food is the core of society," Crenn said in an interview with 50 Best earlier this year. "You can taste someone’s food and know something about what their society is about."
Check out the complete list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016, below:
1. Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
2. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
3. Eleven Madison Park, New York, USA
4. Central, Lima, Peru
5. Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark
6. Mirazur, Menton, France
7. Mugaritz, San Sebastian, Spain
8. Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan
9. Steirereck, Vienna, Austria
10. Asador Etxebarri, Atxondo, Spain
11. D.O.M., São Paulo, Brazil
12. Quintonil, Mexico City, Mexico
13. Maido, Lima, Peru
14. The Ledbury, London, U.K.
15. Alinea, Chicago, USA
16. Azurmendi, Larrabetzu, Spain
17. Piazza Duomo, Alba, Italy
18. White Rabbit, Moscow, Russia
19. L'Arpége, Paris, France
20. Amber, Hong Kong, China
21. Arzak, San Sebastian, Spain
22. The Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa
23. Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand
24. Le Bernardin, New York, USA
25. Pujol, Mexico City, Mexico
26. Clove Club, London, England
27. Saison, San Francisco, United States
28. Geranium, Copenhagen, Denmark
29. Tickets, Barcelona, Spain
30. Astrid y Gaston, Lima, Peru
31. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo, Japan
32. Restaurant Andre, Singapore
33. Attica, Melbourne, Australia
34. Restaurant Tim Raue, Berlin, Germany
35. Vendôme, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
36. Borago, Santiago, Chile
37. Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand
38. De Librije, Zwolle, Netherlands
39. Le Calandre, Rubano, Italy
40. Relae, Copenhagen, Denmark
41. Fäviken, Järpen, Sweden
42. Ultraviolet, Shanghai, China
43. Biko, Mexico City, Mexico
44. Estela, New York, USA
45. Dinner, London, U.K.
46. Combal Zero, Rivoli, Italy
47. Schloss Schauenstein, Furstenau, Switzerland
48. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocanto Hills, USA
49. Quique Dacosta, Dénia, Spain
50. Septime, Paris, France